People in Asia are “most nervous” about the impact of AI on products and services according to a survey across 31 countries by Ipsos Global Advisor.
According to the findings, on average across 31 countries, nearly as many adults say that products and services that use AI make them nervous (52%) as say they are excited about them (54%). According to Ipsos findings, of all AI-related measures, nervousness is the variable that has increased the most since their survey, conducted 18 months ago.
“The perceived impact of AI on products and services and fear around job security is elevated amongst most Asians markets from the recent results of our Global Advisor survey,” said Hamish Munro, Ipsos APAC CEO.
“This could be described as nervousness about the ‘unknown’ negative impacts but there is also real excitement around the tangible benefits. One big benefit of AI is around improving the quality of lives by driving day to day efficiencies. What’s also interesting is trust around AI is higher across most APAC markets vs. many of the Western markets. AI is evolving quickly, and Asian consumers are poised to adopt with some concerns.”
The survey found that people in India (58%), Thailand (57%), and Malaysia (55%) were the most nervous among Asian countries about AI, while majorities in all 31 countries surveyed expect AI-powered products and services to profoundly change their daily life in the coming years.
While there is optimism about time management and entertainment options, there is also widespread concern about negative impacts on employment.
Thailand (69%), Malaysia (62%), Indonesia (62%), and India (51%) were most concerned about AI replacing their current job. On average, 57% of workers globally expect AI to change the way they do their current job and 36% expect it to replace their current job.
Asian countries also ranked the highest when asked whether AI products and services had profoundly changed their daily lives, with South Korea ranking the highest in the world at 73%, followed by Thailand and Indonesia both at 72% and Malaysia at 71%.
“What’s also interesting is trust around AI is higher across most APAC markets vs. many of the Western markets. AI is evolving quickly, and Asian consumers are poised to adopt with some concerns.”
Despite a surge in new AI applications, the percentage of adults who say they know what types of products and services use AI remains relatively unchanged, said the report.
One constant is the divide between generally AI-enthusiastic emerging markets and AI-wary high-income countries. Trust and excitement about AI also tends to be higher among younger generations, especially Gen Z, and among those with a higher income or education levels.
Ipsos provided the following summary of the survey’s findings:
Understanding of AI is still lagging
On average across the 31 countries surveyed, two-thirds (67%) say they have a good understanding of what AI is, but only half (51%) say they know which products and services use AI.
Knowledge of what products and services use AI is higher among younger adults, men, those who are employed, more educated, and/or more affluent.
In a typical pattern, familiarity with AI-powered products and services ranges from over 70% in Indonesia and Malaysia to just 35% in Belgium, New Zealand, and the United States.
Reported understanding of AI has increased slightly over the past 18 months, but familiarity with which products and services use AI has barely changed since Ipsos’ previous global survey on AI in December 2021. This suggests that, while AI is becoming more prevalent, there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in consumer awareness of the role AI plays in different technologies they use daily.
Mixed feelings and increased nervousness
On average across the 31 countries, only about half of respondents agree that AI-based services have more benefits than drawbacks (54%) and are excited about them (also 54%).
However, about the same number (52%) are nervous about AI-based products and services. Across the 24 countries included in both the previous and new surveys, this represents an average increase of 12 percentage points. This suggests that the global public is increasingly concerned about being negatively impacted by AI technology as it evolves.
Excitement about AI is highest in emerging markets and lowest in Europe and North America; it is also higher among Gen Zers and Millennials, as well as the college-educated.
Nervousness is highest in all the predominantly English-speaking countries. It is lowest in Japan, South Korea, and Eastern Europe
Wide geographic differences in trust
Trust in AI varies widely by region, generally being much higher in emerging markets and among people under 40 than in high-income countries and among Gen Xers and Boomers.
People’s trust that companies using AI will protect their personal information ranges from 72% in Thailand to just 32% in France, Japan, and the United States. The percentage of people who trust that AI will not discriminate against groups of people shows an even wider spread across countries.
Just half say AI has impacted their life in the past few years…
Globally, just half (49%) say that AI-based products and services have significantly changed their daily lives in the past three to five years, about the same percentage as in December 2021.
In South Korea and across Southeast Asia, the percentage feeling this way is about 35 to 40 percentage points higher than in most countries in Northwestern Europe and North America.
It is also, on average, at least 20 points higher among Gen Zers and Millennials than among Boomers.
… but two in three expect it will soon change it profoundly
On average, 66% agree that AI-powered products and services will significantly change their daily life in the next three to five years, including majorities in all countries (from 82% in South Korea to 51% in France) and all demographic groups (but especially among the more affluent and those with a college education).
Among workers, 57% expect AI to change the way they do their current job and 36% expect it to replace their current job.
Not all changes are expected to be for the better
Globally, slightly more than half expect that increased use of AI will give them more time to get things done and improve their entertainment options.
Only one in three or slightly more say it will improve their health, their job, and their country’s economy.
More say it will make the job market worse than better.
Again, optimism about AI is much higher in the global South than in high-income countries, and among younger and highly educated adults than among those who are older or have no college education.
Image by Tara Winstead